Category: Jez’s Group 2014

Raindrops mix

P1090083I’m sitting on the coach with the rest of our group, on Saturday and on our way back to Broadstairs as I type this… I don’t know where to begin about Friday, our last day. I think all of us were sad that our time at KMC was drawing to a close, so yesterday we all tried our best to make the most of it.
My group, The Raindrops, spent the last day orienteering. Our group leader, Jez, split us into pairs and we had to find certain places on a basic map. On the back of the map were clues, which made it a bit easier, although some of the clues were a little bit vague, such as ‘On a tree’ which may have been helpful if we weren’t surrounded by trees in every direction. Still, it was great fun nonetheless. We also went to the slate museum, which taught us about the slate quarries and the people who worked there. The quarries were usually named after places the workers wanted to visit but never could, such as Australia, or names after women like the one we visited; The ‘Vivian’ Quarry.
Whenever she had the chance, Lily would be asking the members of our group for food. Spare sandwiches, Jaffa cakes, cookies, she’d have the lot. It was quite an astonishing sight to watch her perform such a feat. Although, to be fair, the food provided was veeery tasty. Edward also had a stomach like an endless cavern, constantly munching away at apples at every opportunity. He even ate the core and all!
During the afternoon, there was a quiz about things we learned during our stay and general knowledge. Everyone enjoyed it, especially during the music round when Mr. White had to sing the song lyrics to us, karaoke-ing like a boss. Some of the girls, mainly Megan, joined in with the singing, creating a brilliant harmony.
When the raindrops had to say goodbye to Jez, we all got quite sad. Jez had been lovely to us the entire week, providing encouragement and helping when we struggled with an activity.
Mentioning no names, a certain someone may have laughed so hard that they peed themselves! This was hilarious to everybody because although you joke about peeing yourself laughing, no one actually does it. Nobody except this person, apparently.
We all went to bed late, and had to get up early the next morning. I’m sure this is a tactic by the teachers, so we’ll all be tired during this coach journey and be quite quiet and subdued. If it is, it’s working. A few people are napping, and the others aren’t being loud or boisterous, although Lily, Megan and Hannah appear to be singing a split harmony version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star‘.

By Maria Munnich

Gorgeous gorge scrambles

Today was Rebecca’s birthday and also Mr Alderson’s fiftieth visit to Kent Mountain Centre! In the common room before the day’s activities were announced Mr Alderson was presented with a golden walking boot to commemorate this anniversary; 50 visits is definitely a special achievement. Beccy’s, arose early to accessorise the room with celebratory decorations. We woke her up by singing happy birthday to her, throwing balloons and shining head torches towards her; she was not happy at first.
After this early start and a hearty breakfast of potato smileys and bacon (!!!!!!!!!), we were informed by our instructor Jez, that we were going gorge scrambling at Afon Ddu, about 40 minutes’ drive away from the centre. This involved us bringing a full spare set of clothes, a towel, waterproof equipment, wellies, harnesses, buoyancy aids, helmets and a lot of energy!
Eager to get going, we arrived at the gorge and got straight into the gushing downward stream of water. A gorge is a water course (river or stream) that has cut into the land creating a narrow, rocky and often steep path down which the water flows. We spent our day climbing up this, which was challenging but totally exhilarating.
Our first optional big challenge, was to climb over a pool of water via the wall of rock containing limited foot holes. The key for this part, and for many other parts, was to have large stretching legs to reach the far grips to place our wellies to not fall into the thigh high pool of water. We all got the choice to go through this, or walk through shallow water to our close goal. The whole team chose to accept the challenge, we were all very successful, even though Mia (a short-legged one), had to take a few attempts. The gorge was hugely busy; almost entirely clogged up with the thick traffic of excited children kitted out with waterproof clothing and wellie boots.
Moving further up the gorge, we jumped and slipped from rock to rock, frolicking in the natural playground of Afon Ddu. Ed face-planted a water-fall, and Maria fell waist deep into a pool, resulting in soaking clothes less than half way up the gorge! It was surprisingly difficult to move along the gorge, as water was constantly gushing against us. This also made it tricky to hear instructions from Jez, however an upside of the constant flow of fresh water was that we never went thirsty; the water from welsh waterfalls is far better than your average bottle of Buxton!
We came across an obstacle Jez nicknamed ‘The Elephant’s Bum’; this involved struggling up yet another upward stream and then between two wedged boulders through a narrow gap. Miss Hodgett took some exceeding attractive pictures of the slightly befuddled emerging students.
Approaching the top we faced the largest water-fall yet. Most members of the team took the opportunity to go for a swim; we splashed around at the base of the water fall, and even climbed behind the wall of water and looked through down the gorge.
Whilst climbing across the log, past a water-fall, we glanced up to the grey angry sky and saw the familiar friendly faces of the sunbeam groups! The brave members of the group balanced on the log, whilst others decided to bum-shuffle to the amusement of the on-looking team. The two groups shared some brief, but fulfilling banter at the top of the water-fall.
Our final and maybe most enjoyable obstacle was the plunge pool, but before this we had to climb up a nearly vertical rock using the assistance of Jez, a pink rope and some very strong carabineers. The plunge pool was a very deep pool the water fall had worn into the rock. Every member jumped from the ledge above the pool; Miss Hodgett and Brian once again took the opportunity to get some action shots. It was completely worth half freezing ourselves to death for the sheer rush jumping gave us all!
Shivering and exhausted, we made our way out of the gorge and down the ridiculously steep hill back to the car park, where various other groups had gathered to get out of their sopping clothes. The girls scampered to end of the woods to get into dry clothes, and came across lots of annoyed teams who’d had the same idea.
We finally managed to board the bus, at least half dried and famished (Hannah’s posh vocabulary). Lily, as usual, snatched up any spare food and ate at least four packets of raisins.
Now, whilst we are all blogging, we are slightly distracted by very pretty fireworks lighting up the sky (which seems bigger than ever here) over the mountains outside. We have convinced Mr Alderson that these are for him to celebrate his fiftieth visit- of course they are nothing to do with Bonfire Night being yesterday…

By Lily Finch and Hannah Francis

Stairway to Snowdon

P1080849Our group, The Raindrops, were faced with the daunting challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon, THE BIGGEST MOUNTAIN IN WALES!!! “It’s really pretty” was all I could say when I saw the gorgeous blue lakes and lovely scenery (Molly’s been saying this all week…)
After assembling at the mini bus at 9:15am we set off on the short journey to the starting point. Just as we were about to set foot on the miles long (no kidding!!) miners track, Jez, our group leader, realised that he left ALL of his equipment back at the centre. This included all of the spare hats, gloves, balaclavas and, most importantly, his LUNCH! To great amusement of the team he had to venture back to the centre to collect his lost belongings. Meanwhile we trekked the first few hours towards the great summit.
Soon after we reunited with Jez and his EXTREMELY important equipment (don’t forget the lunch) we stopped for a snack. This gave us a chance to take in the amazing scenery around us, at this point the top of Snowdon was hardly visible! All around us was history, from the ruins of buildings to the tracks left in the rock. One particular ruin was known to be the old washing house for the iron collected up on the mountain.
Unbelievably we came across many people walking their dogs along the stairway to the summit for a casual morning stroll. There were also a group of soldiers in the army setting a record, that at that moment stood at 48 minutes up and down. As well as this, to our amusement, there were sheep munching away at the luscious green grass on the steep slope. I wondered how they managed to keep their balance.
It was getting harsh, people were doubting their ability to reach the top. This was definitely one of the lower points. But we pushed on. Today was definitely a tortoise day, not a hare day. We carried on plodding…
At one point Mia (that’s me!!!!) got so hot from the exercise she picked up a massive handful of snow and rubbed it all over her face (what a weirdo!)
Before we knew it, we had reached the top of the rocky staircase. It was a great achievement and we hadn’t even reached the summit yet! Just as we stepped foot on the ridge, the heavens opened and it began to snow!! It was great because we met another group from our trip at this point, what a pleasant surprise. We felt revitalised.
After a quick natter we scrabbled to the imposing summit, taking pictures along the way. It was so cool because we were inside a cloud and there were patches of snow (I guess that’s why it’s called Snowdon – badum tss) #creditstomia’samazingcomedy
During that awkward joke Mia had a nice conversation with an elderly member of the Welsh public that we were from Thanet, on a school trip not on a “Morning stroll” as he put it. I (in brackets Mia) almost gave him our school name.
Moments later, we found ourselves on the very top of Snowdon (how did I get here!?!!?). The views were breath taking, it was crazy to see how far down the lake we had taken our first break at was! Amusingly, I (still in brackets Mia) had my attention drawn to a seagull that was purposely walking along the very edge of the mountain which was a pretty rebel move!
The next part of our adventure took Molly to the train tracks where she found herself liberatingly going up against the elements in a bid to empty her bursting bladder, along with three other girls. We then carried on the descent down the mountain. But not to forget Jez and the boys that also needed to wee. They just had to find a less visible point. Sorry about the gory details.
We then slightly boringly finished our trek home along the long winding path back to the mini bus.
By Molly Rennie and Mia Jacobs

A stroll on the beach

2014-11-04-3920We all gathered in the Common Room to hear what Jez had planned for us to do today, he asked us questions about the previous day when we climbed Tryfan. We all replied with our low points and high points of the ascend up, and then our battery percentage (how much energy we had) for the day. He then told us we were going to go Sea Level Traversing, Tyrolean Traverse and possibly plunging into the freezing cold water from high rocks.
We hadn’t had much clue of what we were in for on the minibus there, but we were told to bring spare clothes and waterproofs. The journey was long, about 30 minutes, but everyone seemed excited and ready to go. We arrived at Anglesey Island, it’s quite big and also a very beautiful place.
Our first ‘tester challenge’ was climbing up a vertical wall about 10ft tall, with very spaced out holes to grip our feet onto. We were shown a demonstration by Jez, and were told we needed to work out who needed to go first and who needed to go last for more help. Lily went first, then Jed, then Hannah, then Ella, then Miss Hodget. When it was Maria’s turn……she got half way up and then she couldn’t find a foot hole. She was stuck. There 3 people at the bottom and 2 people at the top trying to help her up. Everybody was in hysterics, Miss Hodget kept taking pictures. Hannah was holding her hand to try to pull her up but she kept sliding down after Maria. Eventually, after about 5 minutes of struggling, she got up and then last 3 people climbed up whilst Miss Hodget continued to take pictures.
The next challenge was to down the side of a cliff and trough a tight space to reach a rock pool area at the bottom. It was simple until we got to the tight space. You had to sit on the edge of a large rock and slide yourself down, trying to find spaces to put your feet on the wet rocks. It was quite slippery and difficult to keep your balance. When we got to the rock pools, we decided to take a team photo so we climbed onto several rocks so we were all sitting down. On the way up, Ed stretched his legs too far and ripped his trousers in the genital area! It was very funny. He had to go the rest of the day with his trousers like that in high winds. So when Miss Hodget took the team picture and uploads it, you may see Ed with his ripped trousers!
So, we were walking along the rocks and small pools for about an hour, the walk included small cuts in hands from sharp and sneaky barnacles and steep stealthy and slippery stepping stones. Jez had told us to follow the person in front’s steps exactly, this was extremely difficult when the person in front disappeared after a difficult part if you needed their help, we all had to keep remembering to look behind us to see if anyone else needed help getting up the walls.
After a while of walking, we came to an end and walked back to the car park to eat our lunch. No one really spoke through lunch because we were all so hungry and we just ate. When we had finished eating, we had to try on our harnesses and put on the cows-tails that would attach us to the Tyrolean. We walked for about 5 minutes to the Tyrolean and when we got there it was a big drop. By this point some people were a bit nervous but they knew that it would be fine. Jez demonstrated and then Miss Hodget had her turn. Then one by one, we carefully walked down the slope to get to the rope. We got attached and climbed along the rope. When we got half way, we had to try to do a back-flip and land on the top of the rope. Nearly everyone tried and nearly did it. No-one managed to do the whole thing apart from Jez- showing off his ‘abs of steel’.
Then we climbed across rocks to the edge of some rocks where we could jump in, fully clothed! Nearly everyone jumped in and it was really fun! Everyone was very nervous and excited about this part. Ed and Jed were the first to jump, they immediately screamed and scrambled to get out of the cold water! Hannah and Lily went next, their reaction was almost dittoed! It was so funny! Then Ella jumped in on her own, she didn’t want to jump in with anyone because she was scared she would get crushed or land on somebody! Lily jumped with Jed next, and then Ed jumped again and then Hannah, Jed, Ella and Lily jumped again a couple of times.
Then we went back to the minibus to go and get out of the wet clothes to go change behind a sand June. This was quite tricky and very funny, then we began the long fulfilling journey back to the centre.

By Ella Cook and Hannah Francis

Climbing up Tryfan

2014-11-03-3887The first morning of the trip, admittedly. Not a good one. We dragged ourselves out of the warm inviting safe haven of the duvet into the cold unforgiving environment of the bedroom, ready for the challenges ahead. We soon prepared for the first nail biting challenge of the day. Breakfast.
We were greeted with various cereals and breads also a cooked breakfast, we were told to eat well for our bodies would be subjected to harsh exercise.
If you were to tell me at the start of the day I were to climb 915 metres, traverse through battering hail and persevere blistering cold I would have trouble believing you.
At the beginning, we were prepared for little obstacles to face, we were wrong by a long shot. Halfway up the almost casual first few hundred metres, the weather took a turn for the worst, we faced heavy rains and racing winds. But to our luck the weather soon returned to a peaceful breeze. Continuously throughout the trip the weather swung from peaceful to storms, the worst point was when the winds rocketed past and hail battered our faces to no avail.
Eventually we reached a point where we were ready for lunch, we ate sandwiches and chocolate basking in the stunning views of the valleys below.
After a lot of clambering and bum-shuffling we reached our destination. The south summit. We took a cheeky picture then quickly skedaddled for the weather was getting serious.
As a group we started to head back to the centre, we travelled down the mountain as a group around the muddy other side of mount Tryfan. We trudged through the sinking mud towards the van, cold and aching. Moments before boarding the van after continuous hours of rain and hail the clouds dispersed and the sun came out, talk about luck!
We went home wet and tired but happy and confident that we did all we could physically that day. We were greeted back with a nice cooked meal and more importantly, warmth.
Jed Warren and Ed Caps